List Breakdown by position:
|Key Def||Gen Def||Mid||Mid/Fwd||Gen Fwd||Key Fwd||Ruck||Total|
Average Age: 25.3
Players In: Bryce Gibbs, Sam Gibson
Players Out: Charlie Cameron, Jake Lever, Harrison Wigg
Retired/Delisted: Scott Thompson, Sam Shaw, Dean Gore, Troy Menzel
Draft Picks: 12, 39, 75, 94
What They Got/Lost:
In terms of ‘Lost’, the biggest has to be the 2017 Grand Final. The Crows were arguably the best team all year and yet couldn’t produce the goods when it truly counted. The trade period started in similar fashion, losing Jake Lever to the Dees, followed by Harrison Wigg to the suns and then Charlie Cameron’s expected departure to Brisbane on deadline day. This left them with some sizeable holes to fill both positionally and also in their 20-23 age group, but gave them the purchasing power to land the big fish in Bryce Gibbs. After playing down an initial approach, they finally stumped up the two first round picks the Blues were after and with it the extra depth and class in the midfield they were after. Some have speculated that if they’d given in to Carlton’s demands for Gibbs at this time last year then they could have won the flag, but in all fairness, they were nowhere near Richmond on the big day. They also added some experience and outside run in the form of Sam Gibson from North.
What They Need:
One word, success. The loss of three young players in Lever, Cameron and Wigg, and the arrival of experienced and ready players in Gibbs and Gibson, indicates the Crows are going all out to achieve one better next year. Despite having a well balanced side though, they will still need to plug some gaps, as well as brushing off the heartbreak of 2017. In Lever, they’ve lost one of the best young intercept players in the AFL, but they are not without options. Andy Otten was used predominantly forward this year to great effect, but he is a quality interceptor at his best and could certainly help fill the void, while Alex Keath also broke into the side late in the year. The Crows could also trial Mitch McGovern in the back half. He has the athleticism and marking ability to have an impact, and although not the size of his brother Jeremy at West Coast, he could p;ossibly follow his lead in becoming a top end backman. The switching of Otten or McGovern, along with the loss of Charlie Cameron, would have an impact on their forward line structure, however – a forward line that dominated for much of the season. To remedy this, they would certainly like to see signs of development from youngsters Wayne Milera and Jordan Gallucci.
The loss of Brodie Smith with an ACL tear is also a massive concern, and his playmaking and run out of the backline was sorely missed in the Grand Final. Having lost the likes of Matthew Jaensch and Ricky Henderson over the last couple of seasons, the Crows are really thin on the ground in terms of players that can provide drive from the backline. Paul Seedsman is perhaps the best placed to take over that line-breaking half-back role, but he has not set the world alight since making the switch from the Magpies.
The Crows may still be on the lookout for some more depth in the midfield. The Crouch brothers’ development has been superb, and Hugh Greenwood’s emergence was a massive plus to help Sloane at the coalface. The addition of Gibbs and Gibson to offer some premium skills on the outside have turned their midfield into one of the strongest looking in the league. A ready to go mid to offer that extra depth could be all they need.
On The Radar:
Having sold the farm to bring in Gibbs, the Crows head to the Draft with one ‘golden ticket’ in the form of pick 12. Their likely target will be a ready made midfielder, and the smart money is on them hoping that South Australian Darcy Fogarty slips down the order, after an underwhelming 2017 that was marred by injury. The ready to go half-forward showed plenty of scope as an inside midfielder last season, and showed promise across half back earlier this year. He would offer options and depth in multiple areas of the ground, and could easily develop into one of the best of this year’s crop, having been touted as a potential number one at the start of 2017. If Fogarty is off the board, they could take a punt on draft bolter Aiden Bonar, who would provide some of the explosive power and contested ballwinning ability that the Crows have missed since Dangerfield’s departure. If these are both off the board, it would be likely that the Crows will grab a slider, perhaps tall midfielder Charlie Constable, or mobile defenders Aaron Naughton or Jarrod Brander.
Pick 39 would likely see them secure father/son prospect Jackson Edwards. The son of 300 gamer Tyson, is another midfielder, who although lacking a bit of acceleration, is a great user of the ball and incredibly composed in congestion. He will still need to develop physically to play a full season of AFL footy, but he would another who could add depth and options throughout the year.